Winter Blanket

Winter Blanket

It was a blanket, no more.
Just four inches of snow, but even less
has had my hands tightly gripping the steering wheel
as winds off the lake buffeted my trailer
at the crest of the Skyway crossing the Buffalo River.

Winter, always my least favorite season
for driving. For any reason, really.
The weight of snow on the shovel.
The wind chill while checking out my unit.
Kicking tires covered in slush. Driving.

But this was just a blanket of snow,
still waiting to be plowed at nine in the morning,
already packed down by morning traffic.
Traffic I navigated as I pulled a short trailer
into an intersection that was a glaze of ice.

Making a wide left turn, I watched the cars
that watched as I passed to their left, watched
the drivers’ already wide eyes widen further.
My gaze shifted from the road to my left mirror
to see my trailer jackknifing to meet me.

Heart in my mouth, I spun the wheel to the right,
felt my tractor straighten out, tugging the trailer pin
that had been pushing me around. The relief
in the eyes of those other drivers was palpable,
their cars spared for another day’s winter drive.

I pulled over a short way down the road,
did a walk-around, checked out my unit,
and kicked the tires, more out of frustration
than for any safety check. Safely back in the cab,
I drove off as I enjoyed a picturesque winter scene.

I may miss Buffalo, but I don’t miss Buffalo winters.

This poem is my second response to Poetics: Connections, the prompt from Merril at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to about connecting or connections—in any sense. Merril cites the poetry of Mary Oliver as an example.

Before I retired, I drove for a trucking company in Buffalo, New York.  Buffalo is known for its winter weather, especially the lake effect storms that drop snow carried by the winds off of Lake Erie.  They made for some interesting experiences while driving a tractor/trailer (semi).

Shared with Open Link Night #2812: LIVE Edition

Reflection ~ with audio

 


Reflection

A slight nudge, and I leave shore.
Or do I? It follows me on either side
as my kayak moves along the stream,
witnessing each stroke of my paddle.

And the stream, for its part doubling
the presence of the shore with sycamore,
oak, and maple casting their light
in ripples cast from my bow.

I touch the water as a floating leaf
passes, or is it the passing shore I touch?
Could it be that it has been the shore,
and not the water, that has drawn me here?

The newly rippled image tells me it could be both.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Connections, the prompt from Merril at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to about connecting or connections—in any sense. Merril cites the poetry of Mary Oliver as an example.

Heavy Heart ~ prosery

Heavy Heart

It was not by choice, but he left much earlier than anyone expected, his body finally succumbing to the ravages of illness that had plagued his life. His last six months were the hardest for him. The hardest for us.

But we go on. And so she did, for another fifteen years. Missing his love. Missing the many things he’d done for all of their life together. She was overwhelmed at first, but we assured her that we would do anything for her.

And we did, but the time came when her own health issues became too much for her. As I sit beside her bed, holding her hand while she sleeps, I know that soon she will take her last breath. Both of my parents will be gone.

Sometimes the great bones of my life seem so heavy, no night heavier than this.

This is my response to Prosery: Bone Weary, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. I suppose this could be seen as fiction. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For this prompt, the line to be included is from “Spring Azures,by Mary Oliver.

“Sometimes the great bones of my life seem so heavy,”
                                                                                     – Mary Oliver

I’ve met the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly.

Not Just Any Watch ~ with audio

 

Not Just Any Watch

This is not a timepiece held by just any man.
His later life an escape to simple times and the bottle,
it graced the pocket of your father’s jeans
and marked the hours as he worked by your side,
toiling in farm fields after your mother’s death.
And later, it measured the hours of tavern time
till we would pick him up and drive to Aunt Ginny’s,
his home in his last years far from those fields,
never recovering from his loss. Measuring
his life, short as it was, it passed to you,
its black shoestring of a watch chain lasting
even through the years it served you. It passed
from your hands to mine, a reminder
of the hard years of your youth, a witness
to the life you achieved through hours of hard work,
a testament to the power of time to heal.

This poem is my response to Poetics:Object Poems, the prompt from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem beginning with “This is not a ______” and centered around an every day object, sparing the details of the object and instead showing the connection that it has made or what it represents.

Image: the pocket watch that once belonged to my grandfather, and then my father.

old year ends – senryū

old year ends
hope for better times
first day dawns

With Carpe Diem #1842: End of Year,
Kristjaan (Chèvrefeuille) reminds us that
in classical Japan (following the Lunar calendar)
there was a fifth season ”New Year.”
Using “first day” as a kigo, this senryū is my response.

Also shared with Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille
and with
Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #171 : New Year’s Day

Image source: Museum of Fine Arts Boston – First Dream of the New Year, by Kôzan

Love Like Waterfall ~ haibun

24 June 24 2017

Love Like Waterfall

We stood on the the shore of Lake Erie, just as we had many times in the past. From the waves rolling onto its sandy beaches, to the dunes lining those shores, to the wildlife found along the the shore and on the marshes within the park, to its wonderful lighthouse, Presque Isle State Park in Erie Pennsylvania has much to offer and has become one of our favorite places to visit. We always make it a priority to stop there when we drive from Missouri to Buffalo to see family and friends.

But this visit was different. Family and friends from Erie, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Buffalo (and even Tennessee and Washington state) were there to share in the beauty of the moment as we stood beneath the towering Presque Isle lighthouse to exchange our wedding vows.

Pennsylvania is one of the few states to allow self-administered weddings. Because Presque Isle has come to mean so much to us, it seemed only natural for us to have our wedding there. I wrote poetic verse that was read by my children and my granddaughter, and I also wrote the vows that we exchanged. It was the perfect setting for our new beginning.

under clear blue skies
waves in the sunlight sparkle
love like waterfall

This haibun is my response to Happy New Year! This prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub is to write a traditional haibun about a new beginning we’ve experienced in our lifetime. The haiku within the haibun is to include a kigo (a word associated with a season – here, waterfall for summer) and a kireji or cutting word at the end of the second line. This word (in English haiku, it can even be simple punctuation, such as a dash, comma, ellipsis, or an exclamation point) briefly cuts the stream of thought, indicating that the verse consists of two thoughts half independent of each other. In my haibun, sparkle serves as the haiku’s kireji.

Stories I Did Not Create ~ with audio

Reena’s Exploration Challenge #166 offers two short pieces as inspiration, to be coupled with an image, our own or found online. Of the offered short pieces I chose the following:

inkblots mutate
to form pictures,
alphabets,
stories
I did not create

The image is one I’ve used here in the past. It shows me on my fifth birthday, in 1958. Our family tradition has been to place an extra candle on the cake, for good luck in the next year, as mentioned in this Wiki entry. (Something tells me that blowing out candles on a cake will become a thing of the past.)

Stories I Did Not Create

Decades to come, too many to count,
when I look to the past,
see stories I did not create,
stories that unfolded before, around me

Will I follow the inkblots that mutate
to form pictures and create alphabets
to understand the elements that came
to define my perspective?

What does a child know of these things?
There is only now. Before and after,
anticipation and regret, these we create.
Will I understand this, then?

For the Many ~ Golden Shovel ~ with audio

MTB: endings / beginnings, the prompt from Peter Frankis at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, asks us to write a poem while considering endings, with a suggestion to write a Golden Shovel poem.  Per Introduction: The Golden Shovel, by Don Share at Poetry Foundation, “The last words of each line in a Golden Shovel poem are, in order, words from a line or lines taken often, but not invariably, from a Brooks poem.”  This was first done by Terrance Hayes in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks, with his poem The Golden Shovel.  This, my first Golden Shovel, was inspired by Infirm, by Gwendolyn Brooks, found here.


 

For the Many

One class, one caste to include everybody.
None are immune here.
This disease that plagues us today is
intent on adding to the infirm.

One class, one caste to include everybody.
None are immune here.
Your failure to recognize this is
sure to take a toll on the infirm.

You say you have survived, but oh,
some are not so quick to mend.
You may scoff at what I say, ridicule me,
but some will never mend.
It could have been you. It may be me.
This does not make you better, a lord.

I read the signs, the news today,
and understand I am one of many, that I
am exposed when you say
you have no need to fear, to
take caution, that you are not one of them.

Despite what you say,
you, too, are of the many. Others act to
protect their fellows, protect them
with no thought to say
they cannot be troubled, to
act as though they care not for them.

For they do, with no thought to lord
it over the many.  Their desire to look
out for their fellow man, you and I,
is a sign that you are, that I am,
valued, and that is beautiful.

When the common and the beautiful
are seen as equal and viewed with
compassion, that is when my
true respect for others takes wing.

Our strength rises when that
understanding of equality is
wedded with a desire to spare the wounded.

There should be no “my,”
only “our.” When we see eye to eye,
when we come to realize that
the key to our survival is
best served when the many are bonded,
we will prevail. That, or

suffer the loss of my
sister or your mother, a deaf ear
turned to the grief that will not
serve sentiments funded
towards the consideration of others, or
even ourselves. Your regard for my
well-being should come unbidden. We walk
the same path. A beginning. An end. All
else may differ, but all else is a-wobble.

All is insanity, to think that I’m
insignificant to you, little enough
to trouble your mind, to
mask your pretension of superiority. Be
more than that. Be beautiful.

Let the world see that in you.
Join those who believe that others are
no less than beautiful.
Be one who thinks of others, too.

As a side note, this may be the longest poem I’ve written.

Darkness Dispersed

Poetics – Exploring Gothic as a Literary Genre (Step into the realm with me),
the prompt from Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, asks us to write a Gothic poem. I’m not sure I have the capacity for detail that requires. Brief as it is, here’s mine.

Darkness Dispersed

Past, present and future
confined to darkness,
I built a wall,
block upon block
reaching for the heavens.

Yet it refused to rise,
you removing blocks
faster than placed,
so that stars shone
as we embraced.

Image source: pxhere.com